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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) eighth annual report on scam activity highlights the significant harm scams continue to cause to the Australian community.
In 2016, the ACCC and the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) received a combined 200 103 reports about scams. Losses reported to Scamwatch, ACORN and from other scam disruption programs totalled almost $300 million. This figure is by no means conclusive of the total cost of scams as many victims do not report their experiences—in fact in April 2016 the Australian Bureau of Statistics published results of its Personal Fraud survey, which estimated the total amount lost to personal fraud to be closer to $3 billion. These figures
are staggering and serve as a pointed reminder of how damaging scams are on our society.
The ACCC received 155 035 scam reports—a sharp increase of 47 per cent compared to 2015. Despite the considerable increase in reports, financial losses to scams have decreased by two per cent, with $83.6 million reported lost.
This year’s report highlights emerging trends in scam activities and in particular, the techniques, approach and methods used by scammers to deceive their victims. It also highlights the education and disruption activities undertaken by the ACCC to combat scams.